A buffering effect is a process in which a psychosocial resource reduces the impact of life stress on psychological well-being. Having such a resource contributes to adjustment because persons are less affected by negative life events. Social support is a known buffering agent: Persons with high support show less adverse impact from negative events.

History and Modern Usage

The concept of buffering originated from studies on the effects of life stress. Researchers observed that there was considerable variability in individual reactions to major negative events such as illness, unemployment, or bereavement. Some persons were very affected by the events, showing high levels of depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms; but other persons who experienced such events did not show very high levels of symptomatology and recovered more quickly. ...

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